In 2003, Matt Ridenour, bassist and vocal harmonies, who had joined in late 2001, would pass a Hotel called Hawthorn Inn & Suites on his way to work. Adding an 'e' and the word 'Heights' he came up with a new name for the band. Although the name sounded more like a suburban housing estate or some high-rise urban apartment complex, the name was accepted by the band.
The Silence in Black and White (2004), their debut after the name change would be the biggest selling debut for 'Victory Records', gaining a 56 slot on the Billboard charts. With the album came a new membership in the form of J.T. Woodruff (lead vocals/piano/rhythm guitar), Micah Carli (lead guitar), Casey Calvert (rhythm guitar/unclean vocals), Matt Ridenour (bass/backing vocals) and Eron Bucciarelli (drums/percussion). This album would be followed up with If Only You Were Lonely (2006) debuting at 3 on the Billboard charts, powered by the lead single Saying Sorry receiving regular airplay on MTV, VH1 and Fuse. The Legion of Doom remixed a song from the album, entitled Where Can I Stab Myself in the Ears? for the the Underworld: Evolution Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, re-titled as Where Do I Stab Myself in the Ears.
Although it would quickly be settled, Hawthorne Heights had a falling out with 'Victory Records' in February 2006. The incident started as the band was readying the release of If Only You Were Lonely whereby 'Victory Records' issued two statements to fans through the band's mailing lists as well as their MySpace profile, stating, "ROCK music needs your support ... the No. 1 slot that belongs to us." They also pleaded with fans to go into chain stores and make sure Hawthorne Heights CDs are in stock and to sabotage the sales count of Ne-Yo's record In My Own Words issued by a rival company, which was being released the same day. The ended the message with a quote from Winston Churchill: "Victory at all costs, Victory in spite of all terror, Victory however long and hard the road may be; for without Victory, there is no survival." The group members claimed that the statements were issued by the label without their consent. On August 7, 2006, the band announced they would be leaving 'Victory Records', and sued the label for breach of contract, copyright and trademark infringement, fraud and abuse. 'Victory Records' then counter sued for breach of contract and libel in September 2006. In October 2006, a Chicago judge dismissed two of the three main claims in the band's suit, ruling that the trademark and copyright violation allegations were unsound. On March 5, 2007 a federal judge in Chicago ruled that 'Victory Records' does not hold exclusive rights for the band's recording services and that the band can record for any label. Specifically, the Judge stated: "The agreement contains no exclusivity provision, nor does any of its language appear to prevent [the band] from recording elsewhere during the life of the agreement". The judge later reaffirmed this ruling on May 17, 2007, stating that Hawthorne Heights is still contractually bound to deliver two albums to Victory, but may record albums which are released elsewhere. The band did honor this before leaving.
The band's legal issues were not over, however, on October 16, 2007, 'Wild Justice Records' sued Hawthorne Heights for breach of an oral contract, stemming from a dispute over the management company's share of the band's revenues.
Casey Calvert, the band's rhythm guitarist since 2002, was found dead on the band's tour bus on November 24, 2007. The band had begun its American tour just the day before in Detroit, Michigan. Toxicology and autopsy reports stated that Calvert died of combined drug intoxication; he was 26. He death was deemed as accidental and a rare reaction to the use of combined prescription drugs, even when used as prescribed.
The next album, Fragile Future, followed in 2008; Calvert's position deliberately left unfilled.
Hawthorne Heights performed at Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution 2008 tour on the "Revolution Stage" with former labelmates Atreyu, Armor For Sleep, Street Drum Corps, and 10 Years.
The Rhapsody Originals EP would follow in 2009 featuring three live acoustic songs from Fragile Future, and one from their second studio album, If Only You Were Lonely. The next studio release would be Skeletons (2010).
In July 2011, after a brief stint with 'Wind-up Records', Hawthorne Heights created their own record label, 'Cardboard Empire' and released a trilogy of EPs.
The studio albums, Zero (2013), The Silence in Black and White Acoustic (2014; all acoustic) and Bad Frequencies (2018) would follow, the latter featuring the membership of J.T. Woodruff (lead vocals/rhythm guitar/piano/keyboards), Matt Ridenour (bass/backing vocals), Mark McMillon (lead guitar/unclean backing vocals) and Chris "Poppy" Popadak (drums/percussion/backing vocals).